by Sheila Swerling-Puritt
My favourite liqueurs are ones that are great on their own or in harmony with one or two other pourable ingredients to make easy delicious cocktails. I've recently been introduced to two fine examples that meet that test and are well-suited to cold-weather creations.
The first is Licor 43 ("Licor cuarenta y tres"). Forty-three is the number of different ingredients that go into this complex bottling. The recipe reputedly dates back to 200 BC. The modern version has been produced by Diego Zamora in Cartagena, Murcua, Spain, since 1924.
In the '60s Licor 43 was a definite Spanish hit. You could see it on every back bar in Spain, with over half a million cases sold every year! It's now sold in 55 countries and, finally, Canada (better late than never). Okay, from Ontario westward right now, but wait until it heads East.
For me the predominant flavor in Licor 43 is vanilla. Fruit juices, herbs and spices round out the character. Forget buying eggnog. Just use 2% milk and a drop of Licor 43. It gives you the same mouthfeel with that hint of nutmeg. Dust it with dark chocolate powder or more grated nutmeg. (It's great product for developing your own recipes.)
The second liqueur is Peppermint Mocha from Kahlúa, whose coffee liqueur has been delighting tipplers around the world since 1936. The Peppermint Mocha is a limited-edition flavour. 100% Arabica coffee beans shade-grown in the Veracruz region of Mexico combined with peppermint dark chocolate derived from the finest cocoa beans. True to its name, it's a minty mouthful with a chocolate undertone. It's very well balanced and you don't think you have just had a shot of mouthwash!
This is the stuff with which to spike your hot chocolate or whip up a decadent coffee cocktail. It might just replace grappa in my espresso.
Here are a couple of recipes using my two "new" (to Canada, anyway) liqueurs to help you look forward to spring.
Valencia Hot Punch
(great for brunch)
- 1½ oz. Licor 43
- 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier Liqueur
- 6 oz. Cranberry juice
- Warm cranberry juice and combine with other ingredients in heat-proof glass.
- Garnish with a small piece of anise.
(Cocktail courtesy of Licor 43)
Caife miontais Phádraig (Paddy's Mint Coffee)
(especially for March 17)
- 8 oz. strong hot coffee
- 1 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
- 1 oz. Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Whipped cream
- Pour coffee into a mug and add Jameson Irish Whiskey, Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha and sugar.
- Stir well.
- Top with as much whipped cream as you have and want.
For more information, you can contact Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.